Magazine article University Business

Building's Namesake Stirs Controversy

Magazine article University Business

Building's Namesake Stirs Controversy

Article excerpt

As high-profile racial incidents on college campuses make headlines across the country, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is grappling with controversy surrounding Saunders Hall. The history building--named for former student, North Carolina secretary of state and Ku Klux Klan member William Saunders--has spurred petitions and demonstrations by students and faculty demanding a name change.

Of course, UNC is not the first school to struggle with its past: In recent years, Brown, East Carolina and Clemson universities experienced similar discourse around buildings on their campuses. East Carolina renamed the building in question; Brown erected a memorial and used the opportunity to educate their student populations about notorious historical figures and events. Clemson, however, decided to keep the Tillman Building name and continue its work on newer diversity initiatives launched before the controversy.

As of early April, UNC was still exploring how to rid itself of the more offensive parts of its history without deleting it completely. The UNC Board of Trustees invited student groups, the university's advisory boards and other involved parties to discuss the possibilities at a recent university affairs meeting. …

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